A tough travel experience

If you travel often, then you know something that more casual travelers often never learn: the law of averages always catches up with you in the end. Case in point: this weekend I went to Huntsville to visit the boys. I was scheduled to fly on American SFO-DFW-HSV on a Friday afternoon. My outbound flight was scheduled to leave at 2:20pm, and I had about a 40-minute connection for my DFW-HSV flight– the last one of the day.

This particular afternoon, SFO was windy– 31 knots gusting to 36. When I got to the airport, I noticed my outbound flight was delayed. Even though the airplane itself was there, the flight attendants were coming in on another flight, which had been delayed because of the wind. The delay was long enough that by the time the flight left, I would have missed my Huntsville flight and thus been consigned to spend the night in Dallas. The American gate agent helpfully offered to put me on a United flight SFO-DEN-HSV, so I let her and took off at a dead run for Terminal 3, where United/Continental’s SFO flights (mostly) leave from (some are now in Terminal 1, as I soon learned.) However, I only had about 25 minutes to exit terminal 2, enter terminal 3, clear security, and board the flight– clearly not possible. I found a helpful United agent who led me to the “additional services” desk. After a rather lengthy wait, which gave me a good chance to see how disorganized UA’s current SFO operations are, I spoke with an agent who told me I’d have to go back to American to get rerouted again… so I did. I ended up on the redeye SFO-ORD, which connected to a Huntsville flight that got me in about 10:20 the next morning– so only about 12 hours later than planned.

The flights were uneventful, but then when I got to Huntsville I discovered that my luggage was still in Chicago. Ooops. I gave the ticket agent a delivery address for my bag, picked up my rental car, got the boys, and went to the hotel. Later in the day, I noticed that large clouds of white smoke were coming out of the rental car whenever the engine exceeded about 3500 rpm. I called Avis and they quickly sent over a replacement, so that went well. It ended up being quite a good weekend, but it certainly reminded me that when you travel, you will occasionally, and inevitably, end up with a trip with a much higher than average hassle factor. Such is life. All things considered, this one wasn’t too bad; I was only 12 hours late and didn’t have any real major problems, just a string of annoyances. Hopefully now things will revert to the norm of trouble-free travel.

(Oh, and as I write this, I’m on an American flight DFW-SFO. It’s a new-ish 737-800, which means that it has in-seat power in coach. For some inexplicable reason, though, it does not have Gogo wifi. For some reason I always assume that such a new aircraft will have wi-fi. Delta has spoiled me in that regard, I suppose…)

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